The Packers announced on May 26 that the ceremony in which the team will receive their Super Bowl rings will occur on June 16.
The announcement has gotten so much attention that the public relations staff of the Packers needed to clarify this week via a couple of mainstream media outlets that the event will be private, intended only for employees of the organization.
The Packers’ decision to keep the event private, and in particular, not open to the shareholding owners of the franchise, has caught the ire of many critics including Vic Carucci of NFL.com, Bill Scott of the Wisconsin Radio Network and Mitch Nelles of ESPN Radio’s affiliate in Milwaukee.
I understand the desire to involve the shareholders, without the support of whom, the organization may not exist. But the criticism of the Packers on this matter is unfair.
All fans of the Packers––from shareholders to season-ticket holders to the rank-and-file––were allowed to revel in the Packers Super Bowl victory with the large-scale Return to Titletown celebration in February. Tens of thousands filled Lambeau Field as they showed off the newly-won Vince Lombardi Trophy. So it’s not as if fans haven’t already received the opportunity to share in festivity following the Packers’ 13th world championship.
And it’s not as if celebrations are going to stop anytime soon. There will, no doubt, be an unveiling of the Packers’ “pennant” during their first regular season home game this season (whenever that occurs). And I’m pretty sure they’ll take the opportunity for all the shareholders to hoot and holler over the Super Bowl win when the organization’s annual meeting occurs in late July. And there’s already an ongoing exhibit at the Packers Hall of Fame recapping the 2010 championship season.
Still, fans aren’t satisfied.
It’s not enough that fans will be allowed to actually buy a Super Bowl ring of their own. It’s not enough that they will be displayed at the team’s Hall of Fame. It’s not enough that images of the ring will be displayed on the team’s website.
Fans are clamoring to be involved.
While I see no reason the ceremony can’t be discreetly televised in the same manner the Return to Titletown event was televised or even webcasted, the Packers are fully justified to want to hold a private ceremony.
(On a side note, Cheesehead TV’s own extreme Packer fan, Corey Behnke, who’s been hired to broadcast world-wide attention-getting events such as New Year’s Eve in Times Square and the launch of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, would be happy to professionally broadcast such an event on behalf of his fandom. But that’s hardly my point.)
There is nothing wrong with wanting to hold a formal affair complete with a catered dinner to celebrate such an occasion. The presence of thousands of cheering fans––and unscrupulous autograph seekers––in a game-like or rally atmosphere would create a disjointed and uncomfortable mood.
The Packers have done more than enough to involve the fans. Let them have an evening to themselves without the presence of raucous fans.
They deserve it.
Brian Carriveau is the editor of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual. To contact Brian, email email@example.com.